Drug abuse is alarmingly becoming high among youths in Nigeria. It is a social problem whereby a harmful substance is deliberately consumed or taken into the body in order to change the structure or function of the system.
It can also mean taking harmful drugs in excess or more than what is prescribed or taken drugs without doctor’s prescription for the individual victim.
Thus, when drugs are taken beyond medical prescriptions, in simple language, this is drug abuse.
This problem calls for concern, because a number of youths are serving jail sentences across the country as a result of drug abuse. Others are facing physical, mental and emotional damage as a result of this scourge. Taking of cocaine, smoking of bad weeds like Indian hemp and other dangerous substances are good examples of drug abuse.
Other effects of drug abuse among youths in Nigeria are violent crime, cultism, rape, kidnapping, armed robbery and many others.
Recently, there was this sad news of three students in one of the Nigerian Universities who died after taking ‘tramador drugs’ for sexual enhancement. Besides, many have died as a result of clashes between one rival cult group and another.
Others have an unimaginable health depression, brain damage and complete disintegration of the body system.
These health effects and other related consequences of drug abuse addicts are primarily the reason or reasons why various governments of most countries fight drug peddlers.
In Nigeria for instance, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) the agency that regulates and prohibits the use of drugs is doing much, but needs much to be done to control and prevent this illicit act.
What then are the causes of drug abuse in Nigeria?
1. Influence of Peer Groups: This is one of the causes of drug abuse in Nigeria. Many victims indulge in this act due to pressure from friends. They are made to believe that taking drugs make them feel high or feel relevant in carrying out certain functions or operations. Once this is done, the victims become addicted to drugs taking and eventually indulge in violent crimes like rape, armed robbery, kidnapping and other related offences.
2. Poor Parental Up-bringing: is another cause of drug abuse in Nigeria. For instance, most victims of drug abuse come from broken homes, who feel alienated from the society without love and care. They feel depressed and in most cases head-on bent taking drugs and violent.
3. Unemployment: The problem of unemployment in Nigeria today is another serious cause of drug abuse. This has taken a new dimension rising so high, posing a great danger to our society. Young school leavers and graduates in all fields of human endeavours roam the streets without jobs This social problem coupled with high cost of living and general dissatisfaction in the country has made many frustrated youths to result to drug abuse and violent crimes.
4. Corruption is another cause. Looting of our treasury, embezzlement of public funds, capital flights and other corrupt practices have been the greatest problems that have bedeviled the country, making development difficult to achieve after many years of independence. The frustration and hardship brought about by this social problem compel the ordinary youths to take to the shortest possible cut to life, drug abuse.
5. Egoistic Factor: is another cause of drug abuse in the country. Human beings are by nature have greed, are selfish and egoistic. He sees his friend driving big cars, carrying girls here and there. By this, he feels humiliated, cheated and dehumanized. His way of reasoning eventually changes and he begins to exploit all avenues to make it at all cost no matter what it takes, hence he takes to drug abuse.
What then are the remedies?
1. Parents should monitor their children/ward on the kind of friends they keep. They should try as much as possible to nurture their children in the ways of the Lord.
2. The government through their designated agency (NDLEA) should do more to create awareness on health implication of drug abuse among youths in the country. For instance, the slogan that smokers are liable to die young, consumption of some drugs are dangerous or harmful to health should receive wider coverage across the country
3. The government should also do more to revamp our ailing economy by improving on the existing infrastructure in the country. Electricity generation, providing the enabling environment for social, economic and political development will all help to attract foreign investors into the country. This will no doubt generate employment for the teeming youths and remove them from the streets.
4. The campaign against drug abuse should be inculcated in our school curriculum. To this end, the Federal, state and local governments should widen the campaign against drug abuse to cover the nook and cranny of the country.
5. Drug dealers should be dealt with seriously and in most cases the farms of such individual should be completely burnt or destroyed. This is very important because where there is no market, there is no product.
6. Lastly, doctor’s recommendation on the use of certain drugs should be paramount. Any pharmacy that sells drugs considered harmful without doctor’s recommendation should be sanctioned.
In conclusion, we must join hands with the relevant bodies to fight this menace. The government, parents, NGOs and the various relevant agencies should wake up to the challenges posed by this problem, drug abuse which by extension is responsible for crime waves and health problems in our country today.